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Showing posts from September, 2015

Neilah - Go UP!©

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Go UP!© - Neilah 2015/5776 Rabbi David Baum Congregation Shaarei Kodesh
This year, my siblings got me a new gadget for my birthday, something called a Fit Bit. You know you’re getting older when you get exercise trackers for your birthday.


But I am getting to an age where I do need to take better care of myself, to exercise more, and this device helps me become better because I can keep track of my steps.Now, instead of sitting on the couch at night, I’ll be pacing in my house at night if I’m close to 10,000 steps.
But Fit Bits are all about reaching that goal, 10,000 steps a day.When you reach that goal, your arm starts vibrating – it’s like your arm is cheering for you – you’ve accomplished the goal.But what happens when you don’t reach that goal?I was recently at my doctor’s office and the nurse said, “hey, nice fit bit, do you like it?”I answered, yes, and she continued, “I used to have one, but I never got up to 10,000 steps, so I took it off.”
In Judaism, we have 613 mitzvoth or c…

The Holiness of Glass Blowing – Part 2 –Two Cups: The Broken and The Whole©

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The Holiness of Glass Blowing – Part 2 –Two Cups:  The Broken and The Whole© Yom Kippur Day, 5776/2015 Rabbi David Baum
Last night, I told you the story about the glass cup I created, well, now’s the time for you to see it, but here’s the thing – there’s two of them.


Confused?Let me explain.When one makes something out of steel, you finish the product by dipping it into water so it cools.But you can’t do that with glass.After it becomes formed, you have to take the glass and put it in a special vessel where it is gradually cooled over 6 – 10 hours.This is necessary because if you cool it too quickly, the glass will shatter, but if you put it in a hot place, the glass can melt.
The next morning after I made my beautiful glass cup, I was expecting to have my creation in my hand, ready to show off to my friends.I went to the glass blower and asked him when I could pick it up.He looked at me and said, “Well, we had a problem – your glass cup was great, truly it was.The problem is, there’s a …

The Holiness of Glass Blowing – Part 1 –Be Alone, Be Powerful, Be Shaped©

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The Holiness of Glass Blowing – Part 1 –Be Alone, Be Powerful, Be Shaped© Rabbi David Baum, Congregation Shaarei Kodesh Kol Nidre 5776/2015
This is the holiest night of the year, and so the question I’m about to ask to begin my sermon tonight may seem strange....but have you ever made anything out of glass?
I want to tell you about an experience I had this summer, when I, a very inartistic person, made something out of glass that I now place in my cabinet along with all our family’s Judaica – our kiddish cups, our candle sticks, our challah and seder plates, and our havdallah sets.
This summer, while I was at Camp Ramah Darom[1], I had the chance to learn how to blow glass. Let me set the scene for you that day.It was a hot and humid day in North Georgia, and I had just 29 minutes with a man who stood in front a fiery furnace.The man looked at me, and gave me a long metal tube, and said to me, “I’m going to need you to listen carefully to what I’m about to tell you.What you are about to …

Yom Kippur Sermon Preparation 5776/2015

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Some pictures to prepare you for my sermons tonight and tomorrow - Have you ever made anything out of glass? I did for the first time this summer, and I'm going to share the profound lessons I learned - about you and me...our strength and our delicateness; life and death...and the power of our breath; the broken and the whole. Gmar Chatimah Tovah - looking forward to transcending with you on Yom HaKippurim.





Israel Chooses Life© Day 2 Rosh Hashanah 5776/2015

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Israel Chooses Life© Day 2 Rosh Hashanah 5776/2015 Rabbi David Baum Congregation Shaarei Kodesh
A new rabbi was once hired by a congregation.His predecessor was a divisive fellow, and unfortunately, through many of his sermons, he hurt many.So the leadership of this congregation wanted to set their rabbi up for success, to talk to him about his sermons.They asked him, “Rabbi, what are you going to speak about on the high holidays?”“Well, he answers, I wanted to start off by talking about the value of Shabbat in our lives, how it’s central to what it means to be a Jew.”The leaders looked at each other with terror, “Rabbi, if you do that, then you will alienate our many congregants who don’t keep Shabbat.“Ok, well, my second day Rosh Hashanah sermon is about kashruth.I believe that kashurth is the central, no, the essential element to what it means to be a Jew.”A look of even greater terror came upon their faces – “Rabbi, for heaven’s sake, don’t talk about kashruth.Our treasurer owns …